Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holiday Semantics

It's all over the news. Seems these days everyone is insisting on making a huge deal out of what we call the Holiday Season.


It's no secret that I am a political conservative, but a social liberal. Interestingly, I find most intellectuals are... at least those I know. We tend to dislike the legislation of ideas and government control; but we also tend to want progressive social advancements. What does this have to do with the holiday semantic debate?

Conservatives are making too much noise over something that has been twisted deliberately. YES, there have, in the past, been silly situations in which Christmas was attacked by morons who will legislate a marble shooting tournament. Lately, though, the focus is on using "happy holidays" or "season's greetings" in lieu of "merry Christmas." Retailers in particular have been criticized.

Pretending that this is an attack on Christmas is just silly. Retailers-- and many individuals, myself included-- deal with people of all faiths. Deciding to use a generic, non-offensive, all-inclusive greeting is the wisest, fairest, and most polite alternative to having seventeen signs above the door. I know when I greet strangers at this time of year I say "have a nice holiday" rather than wishing them some specific sort of comfort and joy. Who am I to decide what brand of holiday cheer one must enjoy? I don't know how you celebrate, or even IF you celebrate, so I'm going as generic as possible. Makes sense.

Don't get me wrong. I was glad Mayor Tom Menino-- one of the few democrats I really like-- decided to call the Christmas tree in Boston a Christmas tree. Know why? It's a goddamned Christmas tree, that's why. And yes, it probably DOES have pagan roots, but the branches are covered in angels, little Santas, and stuff Christians picked to represent their guy. Deal with it.

Do I care why you celebrate as you do? Nope. Should somebody get to decide what your particular way of celebrating means? Nope. If the star on top of your Christmas tree is a Star of David... if the colors of your Wise Men's clothing are the colors of Kwanzah... if you have a damned reindeer wearing a pentacle around his neck GOOD FOR YOU! Call it/them/he/she whatever you want. It's your holiday.

Just don't get all pissy with people who would like to cover all bases and then pretend it's some sort of defense of Christmas. Christmas is the most commercially successful, widely celebrated, and commonly observed holiday in the known universe. It doesn't need you-- or FoxNews, or Jerry Falwell-- to stick up for it.

Happy Holidays.

1 comments ]:[ Add your comment:

Shari said...

Thank you for putting this into perspective - I'm a member of the "why can't we just get along" group, and I am really tired of getting forwarded messages telling me that "this person's perspective is wrong". Hello - this is a big world we live in. Embrace diversity! It is good to know that there are still sane people in the world.

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